Take Home Dogs +3 for NFL Pick: Patriots vs. Vikings

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 1:51 PM GMT

Before making your NFL pick on the Patriots-Vikings game, keep in mind that New England lost to the Dolphins last week, so they are extra motivated to beat Minnesota.

TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis will be the site of this inter-conference Week 2 battle between the host Minnesota Vikings (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) and the New England Patriots (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) in a game that instantly seems like a must-win for the visitors from the AFC after their humbling loss to Miami Dolphins in the season opener last Sunday in South Florida. QB Tom Brady and the Patriots did get TE Rob Gronkowski back, but the Dolphins outscored New England 23-0 in the second half en route to a 33-20 win, so, trying not starting the new season out 0-2 will be of prime concern for head coach Bill Belichick in the Land of 10,000 Lakes on Sunday afternoon (CBS, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT).

The last time the Patriots weren’t in first place in the AFC East (1/3 to in AFC East, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) was way back in Week 3 of the 2010 NFL season, but this is one of those truly meaningless TV and radio quip-statistics that only sounds good right now because the Bills (8/1 to win AFC East), the Jets (8/1) and the aforementioned Dolphins (5/1) all won their Week 1 openers while New England simply didn’t. And with a seemingly predictable pass-pass-pass mentality, maybe the league has finally caught up with the old Patriots. 

 

Very Different Feels After Their Openers For These Two Teams
While Brady and the Patriots (13-5 SU LY, 9-7 ATS) were served up a nice slice of humble pie in the Sunshine State last weekend, the Vikings (5-10-1 SU, 9-7 ATS) were beating up on the hapless Rams at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, 34-6, as a WR of all people—Cordarrelle Patterson—rushed for over 100 yards (102) and a long TD. So you’re asking, “How does this happen?” The old end-around my friend. And the Rams, of course. Minnesota’s regular star runner, RB Adrian Peterson was no Patterson here, but he did rush for 75 yards on 21 carries and will need to have another productive and more importantly healthy season for the Vikings(20/1 To Win NFC North, Westgate) to have any chance of making the postseason from their pretty tough NFC North division (Packers 5/7, Bears 5/2 and Lions 7/2). Against the Rams, Minnesota QB Matt Cassel (17-25, 170 yards, 2 TDs) had a decent game, as did WR Greg Jennings (6 catches, 58 yards, TD), but it was second-year University of Tennessee product Patterson who ended up stealing the show.

Now the big questions are will Minnesota keep using that end-around play with Patterson now that everyone and their mother knows about it, and, is this kid the real deal? And the answers, for now at least, are ‘sometimes’ and ‘he sure looks like he is’. So when the Anytime TD Scorer Odds come out later this week, check out the odds for Cordarrelle Patterson and make a wager on him if you want, knowing he’s coming off the professional game of his life and that his team is playing the Patriots, meaning there should be at least two, and maybe three or even four TDs for the home team if a shootout ensues.

 

Odds Have Host Cardinals 3-Point Favorites Over Chargers, Total at 45
NFL odds everywhere have the Patriots 3-point favorites and the Total at 49 points, and those numbers are right where they should be for this game. The Vikings (24 PF-30 PA LY) didn’t play much defense last season—Minnesota had the worst scoring defense in the league—had double-digit losses (10) and seemed to revert a little bit, including star RB Peterson (1,266 rushing yards LY, 4.5 ypc avg.), although following a 2,000-yard rushing season is like going on stage after The Rolling Stones were the warm-up band. And a convincing win against the Rams in Week 1 really doesn’t tell anyone much about anything really. So on Sunday, we’ll sort of see how good the Vikings really are as well. This should be a fun game to watch, but finding an edge in this situation with a desperate New England (1-4 ATS RF in 2013) team is fairly difficult.

The money line odds have New England as -160 favorites (Pinnacle), with the Vikings as+140 underdogs. In their last seven meetings in Minneapolis, the Patriots are 5-2 SU, but Minnesota (was an impressive 3-1 ATS as home underdogs (HD) last season and is an even more impressive 9-2 ATS over the past three seasons in that role. As far as Totals trends, Overs are 4-1 in the L5 Patriots games and New England Overs are 12-5 in the L17. And with fear driving the team and passing as its forte, then we can—as almost always—expect to see Brady come out throwing on almost every play. Surprise.

 

Is Minnesota Good Enough to Actually Beat Brady and the Patriots Here?
Oh yeah. Even though the Vikings—who only have three teams who had a winning record last season on their schedule this season—were downright bad in a number of areas last season, new head coach Mike Zimmer will do his best to build off that opening win at St. Louis and try to get the offense clicking with guys like Cassell and Peterson and the exciting Patterson. And some relevant trends would suggest that taking a look at Minnesota and taking the 3 points here may be a good idea, including: The Patriots are a telling 1-7 ATS over their L8 on the road and the Vikings are 6-1 ATS over their L7 overall. Injuries won’t be a big factor in this contest, with Patriots DE Michael Buchanan (ankle) and Vikings FB Zach Line (ankle) both listed as questionable, and not significant enough to deem a factor here.

Whether or not Minnesota is worth a shot on the money line (+140, Pinnacle), depends on your own opinion about all of this and, in reality, almost all betting questions will be answered if you can figure out if the Vikings Not The Purple People Eaters defense—which allowed an average of 287 passing yards a game in 2013—can stop Brady and Gronkowski and Julian Edelman and all. If they can’t, this game could go flying over the Total with New England covering. But Minnesota will do everything in its power to help Peterson have a big rushing game and no doubt Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner is now salivating just thinking of the different ways he can try to get the ball into the hands of the electric Patterson, who may end up being the reason those placing their sports picks on the Vikings get the money here, and maybe even pull off the upset at home.

Free NFL Picks: Vikings +3 (Pinnacle)

Free NFL Props Picks: Cordarrelle Patterson Anytime Scorer (Vikings)

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